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We interview scientist Robert Pitman of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California.

In November 2006, where he participated in an international expedition on the Yangtze River in China, searching for the critically endangered river dolphin called ‘baiji’.

The expedition failed to find a single animal leading international scientist to declare the species functionally extinct. The first cetacean extinction in modern times.



noaa Wake of the Baiji

10 Comments » for Wake of the Baiji
  1. Nancy Morgan says:

    I saved the article from the NY times when it was originally published. It brings me to tears whenever I read it wishing I could do something before it is all too late. Thank you for caring, for learning, for trying to get the message out. If only it could become one of the the premier messages of the World…

  2. Brenda Robinson says:

    I met Qi Qi in China on an Earthwatch expedition in June 1996.

    When I heard a few years later Qi Qi had died, it broke my heart and I made a promise to Qi Qi and the remaining baiji that Qi Qi would not die in vain.

    I sat down and wrote a feature-length animated movie about the baiji. Why?

    1. To let the world know it exists, as many people never even heard of it.
    2. To let people know the dire situation the baiji is in.
    3. To raise awareness and generate funds to help the scientists in Wuhan carry out another search and rescue/relocation mission for the baiji.

    I know they are saying it is extinct, or virtually extinct, but I cannot give up on the baiji – the cost is too much.

    I am presently working on editing my script with the aid of professional script writers and believe ‘where there is a will, there IS a way’, and am looking for other people to help me complete this project and bring it to life – we have too much to lose to give up on the baiji. I am not willing to pay that price, and I am not willing to give up. Never give up!

  3. lnlemonlime says:


    Dear Mr. Pittman:

    There are several scientists, etc. out in Louisiana searching for the “Ivory Billed Woodpecker”. As you know, this bird has not been seen in many, many years. There are people who remain hopeful…I have to believe that the Baiiji is still out there, some where……..I so hope for this to be true, in both circumstances.

  4. Irene says:

    Hello there,

    just watched your video of the wake of the baji. thank you for sharing your story. it is very moving and i feel a lot of people would benefit from sharing this experience with you so they can be educated about their options in the future.

    On that note, i would like to invite you to join the Whale of a Time Community at

    Please let us know if you would like to join us and get a free profile and share you message with the world.

    Have a whale of a time!


  5. cynthia says:

    Extinction will not stop, until conservationist and socio-ecnomical entities work together. No human being will ever trade the life of any animal for the basic security of their families. Developmental projects that would bring the community possible benefits to save endanger species, or to use better fishing methods, is what will save species in danger of extinction, the compromise of organisations, colaborating together, which will by benefiting a local rural community inturn, will save engangerd species.

  6. GODGIRL says:

    I think people should become more aware of animals and their surroundings and trying to protect their habitats and homes.
    this video was AMAZING to watch… thank you!

  7. Bryce says:

    Thats sad that the baiji are gone. A beautiful dolphin species that went extinct. People need to consider what their doing and what thier actions will affect. The baiji will be missed.

  8. Lisa says:

    Why is a baiji endanger

  9. Lisa says:

    Why is a baiji endangered

  10. Cindy says:

    I came from cetacean stranding to here, and I am sadden by the news that one of our precious species had become functionally extinct. It’s unbelievable how us humans’ behaviors have driven innocent lives off this planet. I am really ashamed. And I hope these news will make headlines and educate more people, so we can work on preventions that do not allow any further tragedies to happen.

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